lingua franca

A region usually adopts a lingua franca, or common language, when its inhabitants speak many different languages or dialects.

When people hear the term lingua franca, they often think of English. Although there are millions of people worldwide who don't speak English, it has still become the lingua franca of many regions and areas of communication. One example is aviation — for airline pilots around the world, English is the lingua franca. The term means "Frankish tongue" in Italian, a reference to the original, 11th-century lingua franca, a mixture of Italian, French, Turkish, and other Mediterranean languages.

Definitions of lingua franca
  1. noun
    a common language used by speakers of different languages
    “Koine is a dialect of ancient Greek that was the lingua franca of the empire of Alexander the Great and was widely spoken throughout the eastern Mediterranean area in Roman times”
    synonyms: interlanguage, koine
    see moresee less
    type of:
    language, linguistic communication
    a systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols
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